Arrow recap: Exes Gone Wild
It’s not always a good thing when an ex swoops back into your life, but it certainly did wonders for tonight’s episode of Arrow. Though I wasn’t always a fan of Helena — especially when it seemed like we were supposed to sympathize with her poor me sob stories — she plays the part of the psycho ex quite well. Fun for viewers, bad for Oliver. Let’s dig in…
When we last checked in on Oliver, he had just revealed his superhero alter-ego to a none-too-pleased Tommy. Now it seems he’s ready to take some time off. After asking McKenna to be his date to the grand opening of his club — yes, it’s actually, finally opening! — Oliver strolls into “work” late and tells Diggle he’s taking a little break from catching bad guys. The break though turns out to be more short-lived than he anticipated, as Diggle tells Oliver that Helena is back in Starling City and stirring up trouble. Her first order of business? Going undercover as a stripper to lure her father’s lawyer into the “VIP” room, where she makes him tell her where her dad is hiding. (He doesn’t know; she believes him but kills him anyway).
Oliver is worried Helena will give up his identity and asks Diggle to look into what motivated her return. He doesn’t have to wait long to find out.
Oliver heads home and finds Helena chatting with Thea. Naturally, he’s a little disturbed. After agreeing to hire Thea’s friend “Roy” at his club (long story short: Thea runs into Roy in the Glades. He calls her a bitch, she offers to get him a job at Oliver’s club. Ah teen romance!). With Thea out of earshot, Helena explains that her evil dad — who, if we recall, Oliver wouldn’t let her kill — is about to cut a deal with the justice department that will get him out of prison and into witness protection. Helena is having none of it. Of course, to take out her dad, she’s going to have to take out a ton of U.S. Marshals. She wants Oliver’s help, but he doesn’t bite. He tells her it’s murder, not justice. Helena, never one to take rejection lightly, threatens Oliver’s family before leaving.
Flashback to the island: Slade and Oliver are trying to figure out how to get to Fyers’ missile-launcher. Oliver off-handedly says it’d be easier to get to it if they could just get all the soldiers in one place and take them out, and Slade decides to do exactly that. He allows himself to get captured by Fyers’ men, only to open fire on all of them once they’ve surrounded him. With the men down, Slade decides to blow up the missile launcher but again, Oliver has a brilliant idea (and this time on purpose!). He takes out the circuit board, and tells Slade that the launcher won’t work without it. In other words, it’s leverage.
NEXT: Helena makes good on her threat…
According to Thea, Oliver’s club opening “doesn’t totally suck,” which is to say it’s a big success. But not everyone is in a celebratory mood. Laurel goes to tell an ever-emo Tommy about her breakfast with her parents. Let’s back up for a second: In the last episode, Laurel’s mom returned to Starling City, with news about her supposedly dead sister, Sarah. Laurel set up a breakfast so her mom could try to convince her dad that Sarah could have drifted off to any of the hundreds of islands around where the ship went down. It seemed flimsy, until her mom pulled out a photo of a girl in a baseball cap taken by a tourist who looks exactly like Sarah. How she got that one-in-a-million photo is not explained, but we’ll suspend disbelief here. Not surprisingly, Det. Lance wasn’t willing to listen. Instead, he got mad at Laurel for ambushing him with the meet-up.
Okay, now back to the club. Laurel tries to tell Tommy all of this, but he’s not very receptive. He’s too busy being upset with Oliver for hiding his alter-ego.
Meanwhile, Oliver decides to join the party and maybe join McKenna for a dance. Before he can let loose though, he gets a note telling him to go downstairs. There, he discovers that Helena is holding Tommy hostage. She won’t let him go unless Oliver agrees to help her find her dad. Oliver relents, and Helena sets Tommy free, but not before nearly breaking the poor guy’s wrist.
Back at the hideaway, Diggle suggests Oliver still has feelings for Helena. When Oliver says, “What do you want me to do? You want me to kill her?” Diggle delivers this gem: “I think you would have a long time ago if she looked like me instead of the T-Mobile girl.” Okay, how did I never see this before? The resemblance is uncanny. (You can see what the T-Mobile girl looks like here). Anyway, Oliver argues that Helena isn’t evil. She’s just “lost.” He thinks by getting involved he can contain her and minimize the collateral damage.
Helena walks in on the conversation (seriously, she’s such a stalker), and Oliver informs her that he hasn’t been able to hack into the FBI’s security system. Of course, just then Felicity (finally!) arrives and offers her technical expertise. Apparently, she’s been dying to hack into the system. Oliver responds by yelling at her to get out. Helena is amused. “How many girlfriends do you have exactly?” she asks.
Oliver tells Helena that her dad is being transported from prison but that he could be in one of two vans. Helena is hardly deterred. “It’s a good thing there’s two of us then,” she says. This girl.
Meanwhile, after telling Thea her pal Roy never showed up for work, Tommy tries to apologize to a very pissed off Laurel for his behavior at the club. She tells him she just wants the truth. Like, why does he have a bandage on his wrist? (“Oh you know, this psycho lady tried to kill me so she could get my secret crime-fighting best friend to do her bidding”). He tells her he got into a fight with a blender at the club, which is probably the worst cover ever. Laurel calls him out for fibbing again (she might be annoying sometimes, but dumb she is not!), and he admits that he can’t actually tell her the real reason. Now we’re making progress. But not in Laurel’s eyes. After a speech about how much she needs Tommy, she walks away.
NEXT: Helena ups the cray cray by going after Felicity…
Thea goes to nag Roy about not showing up for work, and he tells her he can do without her charity job offer. After she leaves, Thea, who is just stupid enough to freely walk around the Glades sporting seemingly expensive purses after just getting robbed for that very reason, gets cornered by some hoodlums. Before they can get too close though, Roy swoops in all Arrow-esque and takes them down. Apparently, the purse thief has a soft spot for little miss spoiled. He’s not exactly an invisible hero though. In the middle of the melee, Roy gets stabbed. Later, Thea takes him to a doctor and when he starts freaking out about getting a shot (did anyone else feel like there was a little more than normal needle fear behind his panic attack?), she distracts him with a kiss.
Meanwhile, Arrow and Helena are on their motorcycles ready for their mission. Arrow tells Helena that if anyone other than her father gets harmed during the ambush, he’ll take her down. “How sweet,” she says. “Now I know how you charmed your cop girlfriend.” Wow, jealous much? The two speed off after their respective vans. Arrow’s van turns up empty, while Helena’s van has an unwelcome surprise. The back of the door opens to reveal two officers with their guns aimed directly at her. Before Helena can make a run for it though, Lance, McKenna, and a whole slew of cops corner her from behind. Lance immediately wants to know where the Hood is and I want to know why the cops weren’t smart enough to plan an ambush around both vans.
At the station, Lance tells Helena he’ll cut a deal with her if she gives up the Hood. Helena says “Oliver Queen.” And for a second, I really believed she gave him up. (Well played, writers). After a momentary pause, she asks McKenna “You’re dating him right?” Ever the bitter ex, Helena tells McKenna that her relationship with Oliver won’t work out because he uses people. Except he didn’t really use Helena, did he? While Lance gives her one last chance to reveal the Hood, the lights go off and Arrow breaks Helena out. You’d think Lance and Co. would know better than to leave her alone when chaos erupts.
Later, Helena thanks Oliver for the save. He tells he only did it so she wouldn’t reveal his identity to the cops, but Helena thinks it’s because he still has feelings for her. The worst part is Arrow doesn’t deny it (ugh!). He gives her a plane ticket to Rome and passport so she can start a new life.
After getting rid of her, Oliver goes to see McKenna and tells her he feels like he’s letting everyone down. She tells him he’s being too hard on himself, after all they both have demanding jobs. McKenna manages to make him feel better — apparently the Huntress’ little speech about Oliver using every woman around him didn’t deter her — and the two hook up. It’s a sweet scene, and in fact, the first time I could see any real connection between them. But then again that could just be because I’m a sucker for Ed Sheeran’s Kiss Me. Seriously, it can make any scene romantic. As they fall into bed, Oliver misses a call from Felicity who, in a voicemail, tells him that she intercepted a police report about a local sporting goods store being robbed off a high-powered crossbow. Guess who didn’t board that plane to Rome?
As Felicity wraps up the call, she turns around to find Helena with high-powered crossbow in hand.
Next thing we know, Oliver, who is apparently much better at checking voicemail than I am, rushes to the hideaway and helps Felicity, who is lying on the floor with her hands and feet tied but is otherwise totally fine. (Admittedly, I was expecting something a bit more climactic). Anyway, Felicity tells Oliver that Helena made her hack the FBI database and then apologizes to him. Oliver assures her it’s not her fault, and Felicity can’t help but indulge in a small smile. (She so likes him). Oliver goes off to deal with Helena, and this time I mean really deal with her.
By the time Arrow gets to the witness protection site, Helena has already killed countless agents. He tries to stop her with his arrows, but she trumps him with a high-powered rifle. Meanwhile, her dad makes a run for it.
Oliver catches Helena outside, and the two face off. She’s got her gun pointed at him, and he’s got his arrows directed at her. Meanwhile, McKenna arrives on the scene and decides not to wait for backup, which is basically the equivalent of horror movie characters not locking their doors when they hear a mysterious sound outside of their rooms. In other words, really dumb.
Helena tells Oliver he won’t shoot her because he’s not a murderer. As it turns out, however, Arrow is feeling pretty murderous. He shoots her, but to his surprise, she catches the arrow. After that, she does exactly the kind of thing you’d expect from a psycho ex: First, she cries, because she realizes Arrow really was going to hurt her, and then she gets mad. Like beat Arrow to a pulp mad. The two spar but Arrow ultimately gets the upper hand. He points his bow right at her when McKenna — the cops always interrupt! — shows up and tells him to put the weapon down. Just then, Helena grabs her gun and shoots McKenna before making a run for it.
For a second, I really thought the series had axed the character, which I think would have been a pretty gutsy move, but it turns out McKenna was only wounded.
Later, Oliver goes to see McKenna at the hospital and she reveals that she has to go to rehab for a year to deal with her shattered femur. In other words, she won’t be policing anytime soon. She tells Oliver that she plans to move to another city to live with her sister and get some good physical therapy. Hold on, so she’s not even going to be on the show anymore? If that’s the case, then the writers really should have killed her off! Anyway, Oliver tells her he’ll move there, but she says he can’t leave his life behind and breaks things off with him. Just to put things into perspective, these two have only been on like five semi-dates.
Meanwhile, at the police station, Laurel’s mom goes to see Det. Lance, who is busy cleaning out McKenna’s desk. Lance tells her he’s ready to listen to her theories about Sarah.
Back at the club, Tommy apologizes to teary Oliver for being such a jerk about the whole alter-ego thing. Oliver tells him he was wrong to think he could have it both ways — be Arrow and still have a normal life. Tommy tells him he’ll never be happy if he’s alone, but Oliver seems okay with that.
Flashback to the Island: Slade hands the reigns over to Oliver, who radios Fyers and tells him he has the circuit board. Fyers threatens to kill him, but Oliver says if he does that he’ll never find the circuit board. Instead, he proposes a trade. In exchange for the circuit board, he wants a way off the island. Slade could not be more proud of his protégé.
What did you think of tonight’s episode? I’m assuming The Huntress will make a triumphant return at some point, which I no longer think is a bad thing. How about you?